10 Ways to Feed Your Brain

Amanda Reichardt- Staff Writer

The best investment we can make as individuals is in our health. We as humans are quite literally what we eat; every nibble and every sip makes a difference. We all want to live a long, healthy and happy life. So how can we feed our brain? For years doctors have been linking dieting with heart health, but now there is evidence similar to that for the brain.
Researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago have developed a diet plan titled the MIND diet. The acronym stands for the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay diet. According to a recent study published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, the diet may reduce one’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by 53 percent.
The MIND diet is a hybrid of the DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet, both known to reduce people’s risk of heart disease and may prevent against dementia. The MIND diet is thought to be easier to adhere to in comparison to the Mediterranean diet because the MIND diet calls for fewer servings of fish, fruits and vegetables. It breaks itself down to 10 “brain healthy food groups” and five “unhealthy food groups” to avoid. The 10 “brain healthy food groups” even benefit those who do not stick to the diet perfectly but follow it “moderately well,” and reduces their risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by a third. Here are the 10 foods to start including in your diet as well as the researcher’s recommendations for the amount of the food to consume:

MIND Diet “Healthy” Food Researcher’s Recommendation:
Leafy green vegetables: At least two servings a week but optimal brain benefits are found from six or more servings per week.
Other vegetables: Eat these in the form of a salad at least once a day and at least another vegetable every day.
Nuts: At least five servings per week.
Berries: At least two servings per week.
Beans: Three servings per week.
Whole Grains: At least three servings per day.
Fish: Once a week.
Poultry: Two or more servings per week.
Olive Oil: Use olive oil as your primary cooking oil.
Wine: One glass per day.

The researchers mention five foods to avoid, listing red meat, butter and stick margarine, cheese, pastries and sweets and fried/fast foods. According to the MIND diet, the researchers say that consumption of red meat should be no more than four servings a week to protect one’s brain health. This is due to the saturated fats found in the meat. This is also seen as a common pattern in the other four foods mentioned in that they tend to be high in saturated fats. Saturated fats are deemed unhealthy for the heart as well. Here are the recommendations from the researchers who conducted the study:
MIND Diet “Healthy” Food Researcher’s Recommendation:

Red Meat: No more than four servings per week.
Butter and Stick Margarine: Less than a tablespoon per day.
Cheese: No more than one serving per week.
Pastries and Sweets: No more than five treats per week.
Fried and Fast Foods: No more than one serving per week.
It is very important to know that there are no good and bad foods in the world. Morality cannot be attached to a single food item and there are positives and negatives concerning anything in this world. This diet should be used as a guideline to assess the nutritional quality of your daily eating habits.
If you ever have any questions please speak with your doctor or a registered dietitian. If this is something you are interested in, the title of the study which this research came from is “Brain Tocopherols related to Alzheimer’s Disease Neuropathology in Humans.” As individuals, we can make the choice to let food be our medicine or our poison.

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